Let’s Talk Grocery Shopping

Today marked only the second day in the seven months we’ve been in Georgia that I actually drove myself to the nearest grocery store. Sean didn’t take the main car to work, we needed food, and I just wasn’t feeling walking today. It’s odd how my perspective shifts when I’m overseas when it comes to walking to the grocery store. At home, I never even consider it – not that we have a grocery store within walking distance anyway. Overseas, I almost consider driving cheating.

When we first arrived I was relieved and ecstatic to discover I could walk to one of the largest grocery stores in town. We didn’t have a car yet, and I really didn’t want to spend an additional $4 on taxis every time we needed food. And yes, I know $4 doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up quickly, especially in those first few weeks when you’re trying to re-learn how to eat and cook so you end up at the store every other day. Since July I have walked 45 minutes round-trip to the store almost every time in all kinds of unfriendly weather: blazing heat, rain, wind, cold, you name it.

But now, the novelty has worn off. I’m done being superwoman. If I can, I’m driving.

Grocery shopping overseas can be a frustrating affair. In Tajikistan, we had such limited options, so whenever I found something out of the ordinary I bought all of it. It was like finding a unicorn. Always exciting. Here in Georgia, we have a larger diversity of products but things are still very sporadic. I almost find this more frustrating. Don’t tease me with asparagus one week and then leave me with a void for weeks on end. My freezer is jam-packed full of frozen blueberries after they finally returned after several months. And don’t even get me started on my sweet potato hoarding.

I also get irrationally angry in grocery stores in Georgia. Every so often I make a special trip to one of the “fancy” shops for something less ordinary, only to be thwarted by the inconsistent nature of food supply chains. And it’s always that one ingredient that’s absolutely essential for a recipe I’m craving. Oh well. I guess we can always have chicken and steamed broccoli…again….

Today, as I was strolling through the grocery store getting increasingly annoyed I couldn’t find a few items on my list, a thought crossed my mind that often resurfaces when I’m frustrated at a grocery store: American grocery stores are marvels. Everything we want is in one place! Sure, sometimes there are specialty items we need to go to a second store for, but by and large, it’s all under one roof. I hope to never take that for granted again.

Oh well. It can always be worse. At least here I can always find wine.

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